They don't have to be all "fancy/perfect"-- just have fun with them. In the end, the taste is the same-- M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m. When given the "green light", children like "dismantling" them!!!
Scroll down to see the recipes I used for the dough and for the icing 'glue'...
Fun with Emma and Sam...
Below: Five gingerbread houses made by Cheryl for the high school band's bake sale:Houses and Photo by Cheryl
Here are two houses that were made this week-- my little foster boy chose and placed the candies for the house on the right and he will give it to his mother when we see her in week-- he loved being able to choose the candy he wanted and he put them on.
Below: Here is their back view...
They are on a 9x13" pan
from the Dollar Tree Store.
The steps that will have to be completed:
1. Make the dough, chill over night.
2. Bake the dough and let the cut-out pieces 'dry out/harden' for at least one whole day before attempting to assemble!
3. Assemble house with ROYAL ICING-- let the icing on this 'assembled house' dry/harden for a whole day before 'loading it down' with its candy decorations. If you don't do this, you may see a beautifully decorated house COLLAPSE-- as I have. Not good.
4. Decorate as you wish with more ROYAL ICING and candies of your choice.
Before you decide on a pan to use, it's a good idea to lay the 'pattern pieces' out in your pans and pick one that will suit you best. I've found that my large jelly-roll pan gives me enough room to make 1 and 1/2 houses in the size I make. Therefore, with a separate batch in each pan, I can make three houses. If you want a larger house, you just have to make more gingerbread.
To prepare the pan for baking: Take a jelly-roll pan and line it with aluminum foil (into the corners, also). Lightly coat the surface of foil with vegetable oil (into the corners, too!).
Mix all of these ingredients together thoroughly:
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cups molasses (dark)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Dough will be stiff.
Above: COVER and CHILL OVER NIGHT.
Patiently pat this evenly into your
prepared/lightly oiled pan.
As seen below, I like to make "dimples"
in the dough to give it "texture" before baking...
Bake at 300-degrees for about 25 minutes. Bread must be thoroughly cooked or the roof will not hold up under its 'decorated' weight.
IMMEDIATELY UPON REMOVING FROM THE OVEN, place patterns on the HOT BREAD and cut out the 'building patterns'. Carefully, lift out the cut pieces and set aside on waxed or parchment paper until cold. (Eat and enjoy the tasty scraps!) Here are the pieces to make ONE little house. But, I can get enough shapes out of each pan to make 1.5 houses (that way, two pans = three houses).
Again, you must bake this at least 4 hours or even full day ahead of trying to assemble it, otherwise it will be 'too soft' and doesn't hold up.
Recipe for ROYAL ICING that is used as 'glue' to build and hold the house together and to 'glue' the candy on:
Beat the following three ingredients for EXACTLY 8 minutes on high speed (you'll love a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this!):
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
When this mixture is ready, put into pastry tubes or cake decorating tools/tips and 'have fun'-- but, keep any extra amounts of mixture covered so that it doesn't 'dry out' before it's time for you to 'refill'.
To figure out how to assemble the house, play with the pieces you've drawn-- then, you'll know where you want the strips of icing to go (for example, on the back side or on the outside edges, etc.).